Friday, December 30, 2011

BoHo Theatre - A Story of Success

As the curtain closes on 2011, I am left to reflect upon the year that has passed. Without a moment’s hesitation, I know this year has been a profound success for BoHo. Yet, as soon as I make this proclamation, I’m forced to question what defines “success” for a company such as ours. 

Is it the box office sales for one show or the critical acclaim of another? Is it the growth we’ve achieved or the continued artistic quality of the productions we produce? Is it simply surviving in a challenging economic environment long enough to see the dawn of another show? I believe it is, in part, all of these… but there’s more than that to being bohemian. 

I used to measure personal success by the shows I was fortunate enough to be a part of. Success was measured in the roles I played, or in the reviews I received. Instead, I now find myself remembering the stories shared and the community created through each process. Each story connects me to others, whether they’re a part of the company, the process, or the community. Each story deepens relationships I already have or generates new ones. I believe the same goes for our company. Each story we tell strengthens our connections to the artists we work with, the audiences we share with, and the community we create with. 

Success for me, and for our company, is not measured in numbers. Rather, it is found in the relationships we create and cultivate through the process of storytelling. As long as we continue to share our explorations of truth, beauty, freedom, and love with artists and audiences alike in hopes of finding those essential human elements that connect us all, I will consider every year a success.

-- Peter Marston Sullivan, Artistic Director of BoHo Theatre

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Finding the Heart - the BoHo Way

The most rewarding thing about producing theater is not what you'd think.  Yes, I want to win a bus-load of Jeff Awards. Yes, I want the Tribune to gush about the groundbreaking show that you'd be a fool to miss.  Yes, despite being a not-for-profit company, I want to sell lots and lots of full priced tickets. 

But really, I'd trade all of those things for an engaged audience enjoying the journey.  I'd trade all of those things for a cast and design team who relished the chance to throw themselves into the black hole of putting on the play.   We can’t afford the razzle dazzle of a big Broadway production, so we must find the heart.  We must find a way into the story using the resources at hand, and the geniuses inside our actors, designers, directors, and staff.  If you’ve seen a particular play before, we want you to see it again -- Our way. 

As I look back on the past year, and ahead to the next, I'm very happy with where BoHo is situated.  The response to PIPPIN was thrilling, a real crowd-pleaser but also a rewarding adventure for the cast and company.  As I write this we have STRIKING 12 playing, TARTUFFE rehearsing, THE RAINMAKER fully cast and in the design phase, and I'm currently hiring the FLOYD COLLINS production team.  Not to mention, we're also reading a huge stack of plays as we decide on the next season. 

The work never ends…but neither do the rewards.

-- Peter Blair, Executive Director of BoHo Theatre. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

STRIKING 12: Here's what they are saying!

This weekend, BoHo Theatre was thrilled to celebrate the opening of STRIKING 12, the un-holiday, holiday spectacular at the Heartland Studio Theatre in Roger's Park. 

Kris Vire, the theater editor for Time Out Chicago tweeted, "BoHo's STRIKING 12 is one of the most charming shows I've seen this year."

BoHo was also ecstatic to welcome back old friend and Chicago Chef, Rick Bayless who said STRIKING 12 was a "FUN and refreshing holiday show!"

... and one of our loyal Facebook followers said, "My wife...and I went to see the show on Saturday evening. When she was a little girl, my wife used to listen to this story on her mom's antique LP record, the story was so moving to her, that she couldn't contain [herself] and she'd always break into tears. She never expected to hear this story more than 30 years after, on a more vibrant version of the little match girl. It was a very enjoyable show!"

So what are you waiting for?! Reserve your tickets to STRIKING 12 and come see for yourself what Around the Town called "a powerful cast [that] brings us laughs and joy through unique storytelling - 87 minutes of pure magic..."

STRIKING 12 runs through January 1st at the Heartland Studio Theatre in Roger's Park. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased by going to our website at

Friday, December 2, 2011

Doesn't Anybody Need Some Light Tonight? from Amy Steele

"Doesn't anybody need some light tonight?"

  • a green light.
  • a light at the end of the tunnel.
  • light on a cell phone, iPad, laptop.
  • starlight, star bright...

This lyric from STRIKING 12 can be taken many different ways:  A simple question, a desperate plea, an angry remark, a friendly offering. In the stories of STRIKING 12 I believe that all of these are fair interpretations. This line has the potential to go beyond it's initial interpretation and can truly mean a number of things. I leave it up to the listener to take it how they please. 

In the same way, understanding the story of Striking 12 is really left up to the audience.  What I love about this show is the fact that everyone who sees this show can truly take something different away from it. From the individual personalities of the cast members to the classic Hans Christan Anderson story to the modern day overworked/underpayed/stressful holiday attitude, the audience has limitless ways to connect and make the story personal to them. (The catchy music doesn't hurt, either!) 

Personally, I am honored to be sharing this wonderful show again and it's many beautiful messages. It is a real treat to be a part of a show where the actors are the musicians, the story is both fiction and real life, and the audience is  involved in every scripted and  improvised moment.

I hope this show can continue to bring people happiness and light this holiday season.

-- Amy Steele is delighted to be back playing the violin as the Little Match Girl with BoHo. Happy holidays to all!